Sine slice: who’d a thunk?

The Dragons like the fundamentals of Sine Slice, but what about the patents?

I guess I do not watch enough TV, because I only picked-up on the Sine Slice story during the secondary coverage in a Canadian national newspaper.  As the story goes, Sine Slice won a $100,000 competition for the next big energy innovation on CBC’s Dragon’s Den last week.

As a bit of a set-up, it is a tale of a paradigm that was not successfully challenged for far too long.  Also, at the outset let’s assume the Sine Slice technology does indeed work.  The story is all about what is probably the most fundamental aspect of the alternating current or AC used by households and industry alike – the sine wave.  Amplitude modulates as a function of time.  There is not much that is more basic, yet it seems this curve may not be the most efficient for the current’s final use in motors including, for example, fans, blowers and compressors.  The newspaper article goes on to mention that potential energy savings range from 12-25%.  All of a sudden the numbers scale to a very, very large potential energy savings and a very, very valuable development.

Now to the crux

It was mentioned that there are “patents pending”.  This is really the key.  This type of development needs strong patent coverage, because there will be plenty of parties working on similar approaches once the initial patent application is published.  A first positive is the use of the plural “patents”.  The strongest defence of a technology is always multiple patents.  There will almost always be more than one inventive concept associated with an innovation, so one wants to create a fence of patents around the basic innovation.  We are told that the technology involves software, so one can imagine patents to the algorithm itself, implementations of the algorithm for hardware, and hardware including implementations of the algorithm, to name but three broad areas.  In Canada you may even go after “use” patents.  Let’s hope for Sine Slice that these first few disclosures are hefty, providing plenty of material to support the desired patent claims.